North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Syracuse Orange Pick – NCAAM March 1, 2021

The North Carolina Tar Heels and Syracuse Orange meet in the ESPN game on Monday evening at the Carrier Dome. It’s a classic ACC battle in one of the most recognizable arenas in college basketball. It has been an up and down season for both sides, with neither team close to winning the regular season title in the conference.

The Florida State Seminoles and Virginia Cavaliers are neck and neck at the top of the ACC. Florida State is coming off a 78-70 win loss against North Carolina on Saturday. It was a complete team effort from North Carolina to record the win at home. The Tar Heels can be a Jekyll and Hyde team.

I just don’t know if they can get hot enough over the course of a month to do much damage in March, though. North Carolina goes into Monday in a tie with the Clemson Tigers for fifth in the conference. The Tar Heels own a record of 9-5 in the ACC and 15-8 overall. Prior to that win against the Seminoles, the Tar Heels suffered a bad loss against Marquette last week.

They went from beating a decent Louisville team, 99-54, to losing against a weak Marquette squad, and then defeating the ACC-leading Seminoles. Like I said, it’s been an incredibly off and on season for the Tar Heels. I just don’t know if that’s how you want to go about navigating through March, though.

Syracuse is currently on the bubble with a record of 13-8 and 7-7 in the ACC. They have just two games left in the regular season, with this matchup against North Carolina on Monday night at home, and then stay home to conclude the season against Clemson on Wednesday. A couple of wins to close out the season would serve their portfolio well.

The Orange operate a defense that provides opportunities on the outside, but it’s tough to bang down low against their bigs. The 2-3 zone can look genius some nights, and out of date on other occasions. Head below for our free North Carolina vs. Syracuse pick on March 1, 2021.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Syracuse Orange NCAA Betting Odds:


  • UNC -2 (-110)
  • SU +2 (-110)

  • SU OFF

  • Over 149 (-110)
  • Under 149 (-110)


North Carolina vs. Syracuse Prediction:

Syracuse’s 2-3 zone can work wonders against some teams, and be a total disaster against others. Teams that have success shooting from deep are going to have success versus the Orange. They tempt teams into shooting from three, and it’s worked out well for them this season. The opposition is hitting from beyond the arc at a clip of just 31.8% against Syracuse.

That is good for 75th in the NCAA against the three. Conversely, North Carolina has not had success from downtown. They are 298th in the country, with a conversion rate of just 30.9%. If the Orange can force the Tar Heels into playing from beyond the arc, then Syracuse stands a good chance of winning this game straight up.

The Orange have been a different team on the road than at home. North Carolina was able to edge out Syracuse in the first meeting, 81-75, but the Orange have struggled on the road against most teams. Note that Syracuse is 2-7 on the road this season. When they head back home to the Carrier Dome, the Orange are 11-1 on the year.

Syracuse is 69th in the NCAA with 76.3 points scored per game. Their offense has been consistent at home, with 78.1 points scored per game in Syracuse. It has been the defensive intensity that is really turned up a notch for the Orange at home. They’ve allowed an average of 71.6 points per game overall, but at home, that dips to just 65.8 points against per contest.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels effectiveness as a visitor has not been too impressive. They head into the Carrier Dome with a record of 3-6, having scored just 69.9 points per game as opposed to 74.3 points a game overall. Their defense is allowing five more points on the road as well.

The last time the Tar Heels were in Syracuse, they were washed off the floor by a score of 81-53 on March 11, 2020. The home team has gone 6-2 ATS in their previous eight meetings. The small home dog has some definite value on Monday night.


Our Bet
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.